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New NAMI Maine 'Teen Text Support Line' aims to help kids' mental health through coronavirus outbreak

NAMI Maine launched the new text line to take some pressure off of parents, educators and the recently overwhelmed Maine Crisis Line.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) launched a new special texting line for teens this week.

The Teen Text Support Line was put together by the organization to help better support kids across the state, who may be suffering from stress, anxiety and depression amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

It is designed to connect young people in Maine age 14-20 with trained staff age 19-23.

RELATED: Tips for managing stress, mental health during COVID-19 pandemic from NAMI Maine

The roll-out of the program comes as many students are going on well over a month of remote learning with stay-at-home orders still in effect.

"What we know is that kids who weren't known to the school as having any type of mental health issues before are now home alone, feeling overwhelmed, lonely, despair, disappointed," NAMI Maine's Executive Director Jenna Mehnert said.

Credit: NCM

Mehnert said that a lack of connection with teachers and friends can worsen mental health issues, especially among young people. 

Maine's you have some of the highest rates of anxiety and depression, according to the latest Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book.

The text line was intended to meet a growing need, and take pressure off of parents, educators and the recently overwhelmed Maine Crisis Line.

RELATED: Maine Crisis Line sees spike in calls with stay-at-home orders ramping up

"Take it step by step not to be thinking you're going to be doing the best," Mehnert recommended to both kids and parents navigating this challenging time. 

NAMI Maine intends to keep the service going even after the pandemic.

You can send a text to 207-515-TEXT (8398). The line is open from 12pm-10pm seven days a week. Click here to learn more. 

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